For West Indies coach Bennett King, the journey with the team have not been easy. Ever since the Australian took charge in 2004, King has been trying hard to change the fortunes of the West Indians, who have been struggling to survive through choppy waters.
After two years of toil, King’s work with the team appears to be yielding results, the debacle in the final in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday notwithstanding.
Speaking on issues relating to cricket in the Caribbean, King rues that the sport does not have the requisite support from the nations that make up the team.
Excerpts from a chat:
On the recent turnaround
We have played a lot of one-day cricket over the past six months, and the secret behind the team’s recent success is that we have been grouped together for a long period of time, something we were not been able to do earlier. But to maintain this level, we need support back home. We don’t have coaches or support staff in the players’ home territories.
On lack of opportunities
To pursue cricket as a career there, one needs to have the resources, and we are somewhat amateurish in that department. The government in some of the islands supports the school system, but once the players are out of school, the support dries up.
On impact of the World Cup
The World Cup will certainly bring in revenues, which will help in building new stadiums. However, the big question is whether those venues would be taken care of, and made available after the event. The governments have not said anything on that.
On public support for cricket
West Indians are still passionate about cricket, but we do not have the money to move forward, and so many academies have been disbanded. But I think cricket will survive.
On changes he has brought
We have tried to encourage young players, and most of our players are in their mid-20s. It is helping some of the really young people. This unit just needs support.
On the challenges ahead
The more these guys play together, the better it would be for them. Our performances in Malaysia did not surprise us. However, we are still lacking behind as far as Test cricket goes.
On his role as the coach
I am like a compass — I can only give a direction to the players and motivate them as much as I can, but they are the ones who will bring success to us.